Viewing without Hijab Prior to Marriage
  • Question:

    I wear the hijab, and I intend to get married insha Allah. I would like to know what is allowed for a woman to show to a potential husband, when searching for a spouse? I heard that it is recommended for the man to see the person to whom he wishes to get married. I do not find a concrete answer, especially concerning hair. I would be very grateful to you if you could clarify the correct answer for me. Barak Allahu Fikum.

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question. Masha Allah, congratulations on your plans to get married. I pray Allah facilitate success for you.

    For the purpose relating to a prospect of marriage, Islamic jurists generally state that the potential husband is permitted to observe the woman’s face, palms and height.

    For the purpose of marriage, the following is the verdict of various streams of jurisprudence:
    • The Shafie and Maliki school permit looking at her face and hands
    • The Hanafi school permits looking at her face, hands & feet
    • The Hanbali school permits looking at six parts of her body; her face, neck, hands, feet, head and lower shin (ankle)
    (Ma'aalim Al Sunan & Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adillatuhu)

    The following narrations are usually cited on this topic:

    Jabir (r) reports the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying, “When any of you propose a woman in marriage, if you can observe those (apparent) features of hers, that would generally incline men to marry women, then you should”. Jabir (r) states, “I proposed to a woman to possibly have her hand in marriage, thus I would glance at her until I saw those features that motivated me to decide on marrying her, thus I did marry her” (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Hakim)

    Mughirah bin Shu’abah (r) states he proposed a woman for marriage. The Prophet (pbuh) instructed, “See her! For this will facilitate a relevant decision between you two” (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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